The Duty of Diligence

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Of the many legacies of the Protestant Reformation, few have had greater and wider-reaching impact than the rediscovery of the biblical understanding of vocation. Before the Reformation, the only people considered to have a vocation or calling were those who were engaged in full-time church work—monks, nuns, or priests. As Gene Veith writes, “The ordinary occupations of life—being a peasant farmer or kitchen maid, making tools or clothing, being a soldier or even king—were acknowledged as necessary but worldly. Such people could be saved, but they were mired in the world. To serve God fully, to live a life that is truly spiritual, required a full-time commitment.”

But as the Reformers returned to the authority and sufficiency of God’s Word, they found that while full-time ministry was a vocation, it was by no means the only one. They saw that each of us has a vocation and that every vocation has dignity and value in the eyes of the Lord. We can all honor God in the work we do. We must discern our God-given vocation and then devote ourselves to it.

Still today, we can lose sight of what the Reformers recovered, and if we do not constantly return to God’s Word and allow it to shape us, we will soon drift back to a disdain for ordinary work. It is encouraging that today we find many Christian pastors and authors exploring what it means to be ordinary Christians doing ordinary work as part of their ordinary lives. It is encouraging to see these leaders affirming the worth of all vocations from plumbing to writing, from pastoring to homemaking, from engineering to piloting. It is encouraging to see Christians responding with confidence to embrace the duty of diligence, our next area of consideration in “The 10 Duties of Every Christian.”


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